When I went off to college, I had no idea that I would become a backslider.
It wasn’t a rapid change overnight. I would call it more like a slow progress over months and months. Unlike many backsliders, I didn’t stop believing in God…completely. I still went to church. I didn’t cut my hair. I still dressed all “Apostolicy.” There is a lady who I am blessed to have met, who actually has a testimony similar to mine. She was a backslider for a few months, and in that time frame she still looked like an Apostolic, but she wasn’t living like one. Side not, sorry.
As I attended every class dutifully (I’ve only missed maybe but a handful of classes in the three years I’ve been going to college) my faith slowly slipped away. It’s like with each step a tiny piece of my relationship with God crumbled under my shoe. I don’t know why it happened or really how it happened. Well I mean, I sort of do, but I can’t completely pinpoint all of it out. And for thee solid school years, I was an Agnostic Christian (if that makes sense).
“God, are you real? Are you the healer? Where is my healing? Where is my blessing I need?” I’d belt these out inside my mind as I sat in a church pew amidst my church family. As they worshiped, I half worshiped. As they prayed, I half prayed. As they attended, my body was there, but my mind was running elsewhere.
I was doing things that I knew were hindering my relationship with God. I knew I wasn’t right with God, I felt conviction of that. But instead of facing my giant, I chose to ignore it in hopes that it would go away. Let me tell you, it didn’t, it just festered into something bigger.
As I learned to finally let go of what was blocking my path towards God, I’ve been extremely blessed. This past summer has been amazing. More than amazing, but words cannot describe it completely. Oh sure, I basically had to re-learn to trust and put my faith in the One who created everything in 6 days. I had to allow my heart to be shredded and sewn back together; it’s patched with scars. Can God love someone with scars? Absolutely. Because it was those scars that showed I was not always where I am today. Those scars are proof that I have lived through some intense storms, and that my testimony is unique. That I am an overcomer. That I have a victory. That I’m not, nor will I ever be, perfect.
I’ve overcome my addiction to being depressed. I yearned to never get better, because if I was to ever get better I had to first admit that there was something majorly wrong. And I wasn’t ready to admit that I wasn’t fully on board with God. So I became numb to any feelings but sadness. I smiled. But anyone can fake a smile. Anyone can pretend to be anything that one sets his/her mind to. As I overcame other addictions as well, I realized that I truly was trapped in bondage.
“Like a fire” has been my victory song for the past few weeks. I listen to it almost every time I get into my car and drive to work. Because I want to be a fire. Spreading the love of God to everyone I meet. Being a light in the darkness.
“Like a fire shut up in my bones
I want the world to know You are God
With a passion burning deep within
I want the world to know that You live”
As I soon depart for my final year in college, I hope to be that fire that this world so desperately needs. As I journey along, and I come face-to-face with more giants, I will now have the strength to fight them, instead of turning away in distress.